The planned Child’s Play reboot remains a controversial matter among longtime viewers of the series, not least because of the film’s drastic reworking of Chucky’s origins, replacing the killer’s voodoo backstory with that of a murderous A.I. But while this new take on the franchise’s devilish mascot has yet to earn the favor of the fans, a recent press release from MastersFX can at least provide some context on the freckled face of Lars Klevberg’s upcoming flick.
MastersFX is the studio responsible for building and animating the new Chucky, and from the sound of things, it was a pretty elaborate procedure:
“MastersFX has brought the new Chucky doll to life on screen like never before in a mixture of practical on-set puppet work and digital FX enhancements. Todd Masters, founder of MastersFX, and his team took six weeks to prepare and assemble seven practical animatronic puppets, each with interchangeable arms and heads that perform a variety of required actions on set. The FX team, led by ace puppeteer Keith Arbuthnot, along with Mike Fields, Jason Ward and Josh Raymond each controlled a different part of the doll.”
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It seems like a lot of work for such a little guy, but in an era where everything can and will be done by CGI, the director of next year’s release apparently wanted to keep such digital corner-cutting to a minimum.
“It was important to [director] Lars [Klevberg] that we use animatronics as much as possible,” producer David Katzenberg said. “As fans of Todd’s work, we were thrilled when he and his team of exceptional artists and puppeteers agreed to take on the challenge of creating our take on a classic character.”
MastersFX founder Todd Masters seems well aware that they’re in some sensitive territory as they bring this latest version of Chucky to screens, but he claims that Klevberg’s vision helped clarify the FX team’s approach.
“Reconceiving a well-loved classic always feels like wading into tricky waters, however, Lars’ fresh vision for this film turned what could have been a challenging process into a seamless and beautiful collaboration,” Masters explained. “MGM and Orion’s Child’s Play is not a remake or retelling but a completely new style and concept and we believe that BUDDI fits with this vision perfectly.”
So far, the new Chucky has been met with considerable backlash, with series creator Don Mancini speaking for many when he tweeted the old Mariah Carey putdown, “I don’t know her.” That being said, this hostility has little to do with the character’s latest design and more a response to the context around him.
Specifically, MGM’s decision to hit the franchise reset button was done so without the involvement or permission of Mancini. The development was all the more surprising seeing how the writer himself is currently at work on his own Child’s Play TV series, which is set to continue in the continuity of the previous films and sees Brad Dourif reprise his longtime role as Chucky.
With two rival Child’s Play projects on the horizon, it’s clear that MGM has some work to do in justifying their movie’s existence to the fans, but we’ll find out if the fresh take pays off when the film hits theaters on June 21st, 2019.